A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

I’m back!!!!!!!!!!!!! September 18, 2012

Filed under: kids,kind words — courtsbrogno @ 3:02 pm

I know, I’ve said it before but this time I mean it. I got so bogged down trying to catch up on all that had happened that I became inert. So, fuck it. I’m not going to go backwards, only forwards.

So much to tell, so much to say, but it’ll have to wait for that one a day post.

So for now, to start off on something super cheery, an essay my daughter Maddie wrote last week  about her grandpa (poppy). Maddie and I don’t always get along these days, but when I read this I just melted. (And I SWEAR I did not help her with any of this).



            They say that people who do the most for you are the people who hear thank you the least. My grandpa (poppy) always does everything he can to help around the house. Whenever he visits he always wants to know what he can fix and what time he can pick me up from school.  He is fun, active, and inspiring. Most of all Poppy demonstrates respect, positivity, and kindness to not only me, but to the whole family which is something that makes him unforgettable.

Poppy walks through the door in his gruff and scary voice and asks “where’s my hug?!” All four grandkids race to him and give him the biggest hug we can give. Then he softens up and starts walking in circles asking what time the football game is on.  Poppy is a one of a kind man. He loves every sport especially football. Green Bay Packers is a sacred word in our family. Whenever they lose he starts cursing in Italian and paces back and forth.  Sports is not the only thing Poppy is good at; he is good at pretty much everything.

Poppy attends church every Sunday and then calls me to make sure that my week at school was good.  He works six days a week so his wife (nona) doesn’t have to.  Respectful describes Poppy the best. I’ve noticed he holds the door open for everyone. Ever since I was little I’ve watched him do this and now it is a natural instinct. I have him to thank for that.  My favorite thing about Poppy besides his respectfulness is our little traditions. Every time he visits he takes me out to whatever breakfast I want. We play tic-tac-toe and then go home and watch the Honeymooners, which was his favorite show growing up.

“So thank you Poppy you do the most for me and I hardly ever say thank you.”  So this is for the best man, athlete, and Poppy that I’ve ever met. No matter how many mistakes I make you will always forgive me.  Even though I may be way too old to run and give my grandpa a hug, I still do because my grandpa still runs and hugs me.


christmas cards December 9, 2010

Filed under: kind words — courtsbrogno @ 7:32 pm

I love Christmas cards, both writing them and receiving them.

Writing out my Christmas cards is what I’m doing tonight:



It’s a tedious process in some ways because I try to write a personal note on each card (which seems appropriate because it’s Christmas, but I receive so many cards without a hint of pen on them. I’m not saying this is bad, but I do miss the personal touch of a short handwritten note sometimes.), but I love doing it. I feel like it’s the only time of the year that I make a personal connection to all my friends and family. It’s my way of letting them know how much they mean to me and how much I love them. So while my hand will be cramping later on, I’m still thankful for my annual Christmas card campaign.


great-grandparent love November 1, 2010

Filed under: kind words — courtsbrogno @ 6:45 pm

Maddie’s great-grandmother on her dad’s side lives in Utah and we rarely see her. She makes do, however, by always sending us a card for every holiday. In each card are long, detailed letters about her life and what’s happening in her neighborhood. Though sometimes they focus on the ailments of people in her neighborhood and church, often they are just charming accounts of what she does to keep herself busy.

They are a real highlight at our house because we rarely receive hand-written cards and because we get a sense of her life and what it’s like to be a widow in your early eighties. from the letters, we can tell she keeps quite busy. And she loves to write. In fact, when I once said to her that I could set her up with an email account, her son (Maddie’s grandfather) shot up and said, “No, no. We really don’t need her writing to us everyday!”

His comment was all in good humor, I assure you, as we’re not down with elder abuse.

Anyway, we did see great grandma Janet at Maddie’s uncle’s wedding a few weeks ago, and so we got a chance to catch up. She is an amazing woman, heroic I’d even say. And she’s been through so much in her life, yet she still is happy and funny and accepting of almost all things (even though Luke is not her blood great-grandson, rather he’s a step great-grandson, she told me that she refuses to see her family as anything other than whole. Instead of calling him a step-anything, she refers to him only as her “bonus” great-grandson).

And today, we received a Halloween card from her with a nice long letter about her life and $20 with a note: “Here’s some cash to spend on Halloween weekend. Maybe you all three can go have a hamburger before you go trick or treating.”

I love great grandma Janet so much and I’m so thankful for her. She doesn’t have a lot of money and she also has so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren that I can barely keep up.  I also rarely return her letters (I know, sooooooo BAD), but she does know I love her. And I love how much she loves my family and how accepting she is. I really wish there were more people in the world like her. Surely we’d be a much better off place than we are right now.




geek out October 19, 2010

Filed under: kind words — courtsbrogno @ 8:53 pm

As I sat in my office today, at the community college, a colleague came in and we started chatting. I don’t know him very well, though I do like him. During our conversation he told me that he used my last letter from the editor (from the women’s bi-monthly magazine I volunteer to manage and edit) in class to show how punctuation can be used stylistically.

“You have great punctuation,” he said.

While I don’t know if you can actually have great  punctuation like you can have great boobs,  since I don’t have great boobs (sigh), I’ll take the great punctuation!

And let’s be honest, I seriously geek out on grammar and especially punctuation, so this was by far one of the best compliments I have ever received.

I was so honored, I could barely mutter out a simple “thank you.” Because I was thankful–so, so thankful.

Later, I was talking to my good friend and colleague Erin, when I wondered at loud, “Hey, Erin. Do you know of any good grammar conferences or conventions? I mean, I know there has to be some. We should go.”

Because the thing is, Erin and I talk about grammar stuff–excitedly–all the time. So I thought she would be completely down to going with me.

But instead, she looked at me and said, “I want to go to Comic-con.”

Hmmm….I guess this proves that we’re both kind of nerds, but clearly she is more cool. Way more cool.